End of Shopping Season?

By Dave Fratello | December 11th, 2012
The end of the year always brings the lowest real estate inventory levels you'll see. There are just 38 SFRs actively for sale in all of MB as we write, with 3 weeks left in the year. (Inventory is at 57 if you include THs.)

Also it seems some of the best bargains are struck as the holiday season approaches. You'll often see them close right around year end.

Both observations owe to the fact that sellers are reluctant to run up excess DOM with a post-Thanksgiving listing, and the (typical) slowdown in buyer activity during the holidays will tend to make any offer look good.

It can be bargain-hunting time for buyers who are ready to move quickly.

This year, there's been a little added pressure on sellers: Imminent jumps in capital gains tax rates.

If you've got a lot of equity in your house and stand to profit handily from a sale, you may want to "save" several tens of thousands of dollars by selling within calendar year 2012. (We've learned that there's just enough complexity to the capital gains tax hikes that we can't state simply how they work, but they're coming. We assume most readers here are familiar.)

We're looking forward to watching end-of-year closings to see if the received wisdom bears out this year. Will we see great deals struck, even in this sellers' market? We'll check back on the subject in the New Year.

Among the active inventory, there are several listings with 4-6 months on market that might be seen as prospects for deal-making, but you never know. 

Is it too late now for sellers to cut deals? For a year-end closing, you probably need a cash buyer. Few lenders could reliably process a new transaction in the 3 weeks left in the year.

Are cash buyers out shopping? Yes, we hear about all kinds of wants and needs. But for a match to be made between buyer and seller and still close in 2012, the days and hours are ticking by quickly. (Got a tip, or property to sell? Email Dave.)

If shopping season isn't over, exactly, we're near that point. Let's see what buyers and sellers can pull off in these late days.

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